The shortest day of the year…


It's still a winter wonderland here and we're supposed to get more snow just in time for Christmas!

As you all know, today is the “shortest” day of the year – meaning the day with the least amount of sunlight.  Today in Edinburgh the sun rises at 8:42 and sets at 3:42, giving us a grand total of six hours, 57 minutes and 31 seconds of daylight!  The resulting evenings are so incredibly long.  A couple of nights ago I went to bed at 9:30 for the first time in years!  Part of it was jet lag but I think that a big part of it was just being bored.  When the sun is going down before 4PM you tend to eat dinner earlier, do your usual evening things, and then you realize it’s only 8:30…

Historically the Norse, Celts, and Pagans marked the winter solstice with some pretty spectacular celebrations.  Not only was this the beginning of winter (something I would imagine most people dreaded) it also marked the slow lengthening of days.  Cattle were butchered and feasted upon – this serving the dual purpose of feeding a hungry clan and also preventing them from having to find feed for the cattle over the winter.  The fruits that had been picked during the spring and summer and been smashed and stored in casks were nicely fermented – providing some cheerful and warming libation.  And, hopefully by this point in the year, people had secured warm-ish shelter.  This was one last hurrah before bunking in for winter.  Sitting in my flat, which while charming is terribly drafty, and appreciating the few hours of sunlight, I cannot help but admire the fortitude of those early settlers.

About Rebecca

Hi! After five years in Europe, I'm adjusting to life back in the US. I use this blog to record my adventures, post photos, organize recipes, and post about things that interest me.
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5 Responses to The shortest day of the year…

  1. POP says:

    Great post but you forgot to mention the lunar eclipse falling on the same day as the winter solstice which is today which quite rare. We were going to set the alarms to view it but alas this 6 day rain storm we are in the middle of has eclipsed the eclipse.

  2. Sloane says:

    I’ve been waiting for this day, I’m just really ready for the days to start getting longer, even if only by tiny bits. Doesn’t it seem weird that the days start getting longer and Winter begins at the same time?
    Btw, I love that it is snowing on your blog! :)
    Merry Christmas friend!

    • Rebecca says:

      Sloane! I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing – how Autumn technically has the shortest days and Spring has the longest. It just seems like Winter and Summer should carry those honors.
      Glad you like the snow – I think it’s just cheesy enough!
      Merry Christmas!

  3. Katie says:

    I kind of miss the short days and dark evenings! But more so I miss the loooong summer days :)

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